Visitors to the CBD must be sure to pass by Speke Avenue where it runs along Town House. Your eyes will be opened by a dazzling splash of colour and design on the pavement and the pillars by the pedestrian overpass.
Spearheaded by Urban Space, an organisation looking to improve the utility of our city areas by making them more inviting and inspiring, the Speke Avenue project was made possible with funding from Hivos, Trust Africa, private sponsorship from the nearby Joina City mall, and technical assistance for City of Harare (CoH).
The design was the work of two artist being Jimmy Saruchera and Martin Stewart, and was chosen from several others by a public vote on Facebook.
“I took motifs from the ancient art found in ruins across the country, and pasted their deep symbolic meaning onto the modern cityscape. Each pattern you see has meaning… respect of women, strength, good governance and ubuntu,” said Stewart, who was frantically painting a gloopy luminous paste onto the pillars while speaking to Harare News.
“This paint is photoluminescent. It get energised by the sun and then glows at night,” explains Stewart.
The painting was done on a voluntary basis. Fungai Chiposi of Proudly Zimbabwean acted as Project Coordinator. “We recorded 426 volunteers passing through,” he says.
Joseph, a Speke Street vendor with a colourful rack of caps and hats described the area before the project as ‘unlookable’. “Now it’s nice. Everyone comes to see this place. I can only say that this is a good thing,” he said.
“It’s like a miracle,” said another lady, who declined her name.